Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Revolutionary Love of Fred Hampton, Sr.

In the wee hours of the morning on this day in 1969, Fred Hampton, Sr., was assassinated by a coalition of law enforcement officers representing city, county and federal agencies in Chicago, Illinois. These lines, taken from some of his speeches, as presented in the movie, "The Murder of Fred Hampton," are why:

"I was born in a bourgeois community and had some of the better things in life, but I found that there were more people starving than there were people eating, more people that didn’t have clothes than did have clothes, and I just happened to be one of the few. So I decided that I wouldn’t stop doing what I’m doing until all those people are free.

"We’re gonna have to do more than talk. We're gonna have to do more than listen. We're gonna have to do more than learn. We’re gonna have to start practicing and that’s very hard. We’re gonna have to start getting out there with the people and that’s difficult. Sometimes we think we’re better than the people so it’s gonna take a lot of hard work.

"You don’t fight fire with fire. You fight fire with water. We’re gonna fight racism with solidarity. We're not gonna fight capitalism with Black capitalism. We’re gonna fight capitalism with socialism. Socialism is the people. If you’re afraid of socialism, you’re afraid of yourself.

"Without education, people will accept anything. Without education, what you’ll have is neo-colonialism instead of the colonialism like you have now. Without education, people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing, you know what I mean? You might get people caught up in an emotionalist movement, might get them because they’re poor and they want something and then if they’re not educated, they’ll want more and before you know it, we’ll have Negro imperialism.

"You have to understand that people have to pay the price for peace. If you dare to struggle, you dare to win. If you dare not struggle, then you don’t deserve to win. Let me say ‘Peace’ to you, if you’re willing to fight for it.

"Nothing is more important than stopping fascism because fascism will stop us all. We don’t hate White people. We hate the oppressor, whether they be White, Black, Brown or Yellow. We will work with anybody, coalesce with anybody that has revolution on their mind. But anybody that comes into our community and sets up anything that does not meet the needs of the masses, I will grab him by the neck and beat that man to death with a Black Panther paper.

"I’m going to do my job and I believe that I was born not to die in a car wreck. I don’t believe I’m going to die slipping on a piece of ice. I don’t believe I was born to die because of a bad heart. I don’t believe I was born to die of lung cancer. I believe I’m going to be able to do what I came to do. I believe that I’m going to be able to die high off the people. I believe that I will be able to die as a revolutionary in the international revolutionary proletariat struggle. And I hope that each one of you will be able to live in it. I think that struggles are going to come. Why don’t you live for the people? Why don’t you live for the struggle? Why don’t you die for the struggle?

"If you ain’t gonna do no revolutionary act, forget about me. I don’t want myself on your mind if you’re not gonna work for the people.

"I might not be back. I might be in jail. I might be anywhere. But you can believe that the last words on my lips were ‘I am a revolutionary.’

"You can kill a revolutionary, but you can’t kill the revolution."


Maxjulian said...

YES! I want to be just like him...but he's not lying. That is hard, so hard. Loving that much is hard.

changeseeker said...

Yes, Maxjulian, it's hard. And scary, I think. But the worst of it is the work we do inside ourselves. If we do that work well, then the rest of it comes more naturally, don't you think?

Maxjulian said...

That's what I'm focusing on - the revolution within. Because you are right, it has to come out naturally, the revolution that has staying power must spring forth from people who have changed fundamentally. Into human beings.

My embrace of my blackness has been a process to full humanity. When I think of black liberation, it is inextricably linked to the liberation of the Congo, of the Cuban, the Harlemite, the white Southerner. If we can't grow to see that oppression is oppression and that race and other Isms are mainly, but not entirely, tactics, that revolution is doomed at the start.

Until I AM that which I want to see - unified, connected, undivided, undefended - then I can't help make the revolution that is necessary. It would only be changing from Hitler to Stalin to Roosevelt to Truman to Bush to Obama. That is not revolution. It has to be us.

Bottoms up.

Lorraine said...

I love this so much! Defintely gonna learn more about Fred Hampton.


changeseeker said...

Maxjulian: I call the natural evolution of revolution "organic" (rather than "mechanical"?) because it "grows" out of its own roots. Very Zapatista.

I like how you say we morph into human beings (as opposed to human doings?). That's a real process there...sometimes, I think I'm doing pretty well at it and other times, the arrogance of my own thoughts embarrass me (or even disgust me?), with or without anybody else knowing.

"Until I AM that which I want to see - unified, connected, undivided, undefended - then I can't help make the revolution that is necessary."

I'll drink to that!

Lorraine: Welcome! I'm glad you like the post. And Hampton is worth checking out. The video on my earlier post is a good beginning.

Professor Zero said...

Go, go, Fred!

Invisible Woman said...


Listen and Understand said...

Thanks so much for this. Fred Hampton was a great man. If only he wasn't murdered.

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changeseeker said...

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